• Eureka Rips-off Hard-Working Grocery Stores!

John Wayne said it in one of his movies, I don't know if he was the first to say this, but the Duke gets the credit for it as far as I'm concerned, when he said:

Life is hard, but it's really hard when you're stupid.

For what the city council voted on, stupid is the best I can come up with, and after you hear me out I hope you'll agree.  Here we go:

The Eureka City Council has repealed and replaced the city code regarding abandoned shopping carts.   The city can now dispose of shopping carts abandoned on public property and issue fines to grocery stores for EACH cart rescued by city staff.  

What happens is homeless people need a way to carry their possessions, so they steal a shopping cart from a local grocery store.  The person fills the cart with their possessions and wanders around town with it.  Eventually the cart is abandoned, often it is full of trash and it is left in random locations throughout Eureka and beyond.

With this new law, the city will get paid to rescue these carts and will penalize whichever store had the cart stolen.  What will this brand new penalty to you, the customer?  Well, if the City actually follows through with fines, then this will be one more thing that raises the prices of a loaf of bread, a can of tuna, a gallon of milk.  Remember grocery stores tend to have thin margins, if the city introduces a tax, then expect the price of goods to go up.

Stupid laws that hurt businesses in new and creative ways are a clear way to expose the city to litigation. I heard it said once that  "The Law Hates Creativity."  I wouldn't blame these grocery stores one bit if they take the City to court.  With all the challenges we hear about city hall not having enough money for pot holes and personnel, you would think they'd try a little harder to stay out of the courtroom, where the penalties for bad votes and stupid laws can be very expensive. 

Finally, the city's argument is that they need to be compensated for disposing of these shopping carts.  That's a pretty weak argument, how about try fixing the potholes first and then maybe we can talk about paying you for hunting shopping carts around town.  


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